Employee management is a tricky business. You often get caught in the middle of everything from minor misunderstandings to major power struggles. These workplace disputes are not only dangerous, they can hurt morale and productivity. While you don’t need to earn a PhD in conflict resolution, learning these quick tips will help you ease tensions on the job.
Common Sources of Conflict
- Poor communication
- Conflicts of interest
- Power struggles
How to Successfully Approach Conflict Resolution
1) Communicate Clearly
Clear communication is the key to preventing and minimizing disputes.
Your ability to resolve conflicts starts with encouraging effective employee communications on a daily basis. Managers who establish a pattern of open communication with their employees often face fewer workplace disputes. Employees who are taught how to talk to one another often feel less tension at the job site.
Improve employee communication by avoiding these three major red flags:
- Mixed messages
- Ambiguous language
- Vague procedures and expectations
2) Encourage Active Listening
Effective communication is a two-way street. As you encourage employees to properly interact, don’t forget about the importance of listening.
Conflicts can often be prevented or easily resolved when all parties actively listen to each other. Very often, a small disagreement can escalate into a major dispute simply because no one is listening.
3) Create Solutions to the Problem
When there is a problem, it’s best to resolve it in a way that is a win-win for both parties. Although there may be an aggressor in the conflict, there are also likely underlying causes.
As you work to develop a conflict resolution plan, hear both sides of the argument to see if they have any suggestions or solutions you may not have considered. After investigating the issue, talk over possible solutions will all parties. You may even want to consider bringing in an objective third-party for a neutral opinion.
While conflicts may be unavoidable, learning how to work through them will save your business a ton of time and aggravation.